Tidal Facilities

Lir – Wave & Current Flume

The Lir Flume is 25m * 3m and 0.6 to 1.2 m in depth. The operational height of the wave generation paddles is adjustable to allow for the generation of a broad range of sea states at different water depths. The Flume is a multi-purpose facility with the capability of running separate and combined unidirectional wave and current tests. It has 8 hinged force feedback paddles and three thrusters for generating current speeds of greater than 1m/s. The wave generation peaks at Hs = 0.16m, Tp = 1.5s and Hmax  = 0.35m.

The Flume is fitted with a towing carriage that can operate at speeds up to 1.5m/s, data acquisition system, sensors, 3D motion camera system and a PIV system for flow visualisation.

Services offered by the infrastructure includes:

  • Component testing
  • Hydrodynamic Performance
  • Power take-off performance
  • Site specific wave generation
  • Data acquisition & analysis.

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EMEC –  Integrated Monitoring Pod

EMEC’s Integrated Monitoring Pod (IMP) is an all in one environmental monitoring platform for tidal energy sites. The IMP is a 2m cube steel structure with mesh sides which is deployed on the seabed connecting to the shore via a dry mate electro-optic cable. The pod supplies power to devices mounted on the structure and delivers data into EMEC’s SCADA system. It is deployed at EMEC’s tidal testing site and it will be recovered and redeployed on an as required basis. There is an opportunity for integration of new subsea equipment onto the pod for testing purposes with power and data connections available. EMEC’s Pod currently monitors the following aspects of the marine environment: Detection of seals, cetaceans and other sea life, tidal currents, waves, conductivity, temperature, density, turbulence and ambient noise. The Pod offers an ideal testing for new marine equipment that requires testing in a high energy marine environment.

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EMEC – Tidal Scale

Located in the channel between Orkney Mainland and the island of Shapinsay, EMEC’s Shapinsay Sound scale tidal test site offers two non-grid connected testing berths for tidal energy convertors. The test berths are between 21m and 25m deep, supported by EMEC’s test support buoy which offers power dissipation of up to 75kW. The buoy also offers a power supply to the offshore devices and data measurement and transmission to an onshore receiver which is connected to EMEC’s SCADA system to allow remote access and control. The Shapinsay Sound site offers tidal speeds of around 1.1m/s on spring tides to around 0.4m/s on neap tides. The seabed is relatively flat and sandy making it the ideal site for testing smaller scale tidal energy convertors.

EMEC holds an overarching site licence, simplifying the consent process within an agreed envelope of activity. Each test site comprises one berth with pre-laid foundation and attachment points, and adjacent ‘blank’ test area. The pre-laid foundations comprise 5m x 5m x 2m gravity-base frames loaded with densecrete blocks for equipment moorings. An area of seabed is also available for rehearsal or deployment of other tools and techniques.

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EMEC – Full Scale Tidal

EMEC’s Fall of Warness grid-connected tidal test site is situated just west of the island of Eday – lying in a narrow channel between the Westray Firth and Stronsay Firth. The site was chosen for its high velocity marine currents which reach 4m/s at spring tides. The Fall of Warness site offers eight tidal test berths at depths ranging from 12m to 50m with 11kV sub-sea cables. There are also options on site for slightly more sheltered testing conditions. In addition to transporting electricity, the cables contain fibre-optics which allow developers to communicate with the devices and transmit monitoring data back to our data centre and office facilities.

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Basin of Boulogne-sur-Mer_Ifremer

Ifremer – Basin of Boulogne sur Mer

The Hydrodynamics laboratory of Boulogne-sur-Mer is part of the Development and Research Technologies Unit and carries out research on submarine devices and new offshore concepts. Experimental and numerical facilities are used to carry out hydrodynamical studies and provide expertise in partnership or confidential matter. The Boulogne-sur-Mer unit is a wave and current flume tank where fluid/structure interaction problems are tested under conditions close to real ones.  Specific measuring techniques dealing with hydrodynamics are regularly implemented. Tests are carried out for French and foreign partners for development and research projects or for assistance in confidential matter.

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Ifremer – Basin of Brest


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ORE Catapult – Blade Test

We perform independent structural testing of turbine blades – static and fatigue – in accordance with IEC and ISO standards, enabling blade manufacturers to achieve industry certification.

We opened our 50m facility in 2005. Tests are delivered to customer requirements and can include:

  • Determination of natural blade frequencies
  • Modal analysis
  • Post fatigue
  • Collapse assessments

More information available here http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=1824

ORE Catapult – Marine Test Site

ORE Catapult’s open access dry dock testing facilities which include a simulated seabed and still water tanks provide a flexible and controlled onshore saltwater location for all stages of technology development. Site features: simulated seabed; indoor and outdoor assembly with crane and engineering support; exclusive and secure on-site office; operations support team and workshop facilities and mobile tower lighting and flat bottomed work boat.

Facilities available:

  1. Still Water Tank 76m x 19m – Depth 7m
  2. Simulated Seabed 85m x 15m – Depth 3.5m
  3. Still Water Tank 75m x 26m – Depth 8.2m

More information available here http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=1801

QUB – Portaferry Tidal Test Site

The tidal test centre uses specific locations within Strangford Lough to simulate full-scale conditions. The test site is located on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough which is a large shallow sea lough. The bathymetric profile of the Lough and the variation in current profiles at various locations permits scaled (approx. 10th) tests of full-scale tidal devices (either floating or fixed) that are designed for specific operating conditions (depth, current, wave interaction, tidal range etc).

The Portaferry Tidal Test Site offers the ability to test in real tidal flow conditions under realistic currents and turbulence, with ease of access and close proximity to various facilities.

SSPA – Maritime Hydrodynamics Laboratory

SSPA offers both several facilities for hydrodynamic testing and extensive experience in hydrodynamic design. SSPA can as such be of assistance for initial testing and evaluation or in the design optimization process for a device which are farther in the development process.

SSPA’s research and consultancy mainly revolves around  testing and design of structures and vessels in the marine environment, and the techniques used are much the same as is needed for Marine Energy Conversion. Therefore SSPA have worked for several years in research projects and as a consultant for various Marine Energy Conversion projects.

In MaRINET2 the following facilities can be utilized:

  • Towing tank
  • Maritime Dynamics Laboratory
  • Cavitation tank

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BGO FIRST is a large and deep basin (40mx16mx4.8m) with wave, current and wind generation capabilities and specific features such as its movable and inclinable floor (which allows the performance of tests in any water depth, from 0 to 4.8m), its pit of a 10m total depth, its large amplitude forced motions platform, its dynamic winch as an alternative to wind generation, its PTOs, its DP pods, its in-house workshop and instrumentation, its experienced personnel… The combination of these capabilities makes the BGO FIRST be on the most equipped sea keeping tank in Europe. It has been operated since 1998 by OCEANIDE who has now more than 230 tests campaign references in this facility, mainly for the energy industry. More information can be found on OCEANIDE web site www.oceanide.net.

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DMEC- DenOever

The Dutch Marine Energy Centre provides excellent opportunities for tidal energy converter testing at intermediate scale. The onshore facility Den Oever is located in two ducts of the Afsluitdijk, in an existing sluice that discharges water from the IJsselmeer to the Wadden Sea. The main function of the sluices always remains dominant; test equipment must be placed in such a way that it can be easily removed or lifted.  Basic infrastructure is available, including E&I grid, ADCP, and reaction construction (foundation). The site is typically used for 1:1 scaled river turbine applications, and for 1:4 scaled tidal stream solutions.

DMEC – Marsdiep

The Dutch Marine Energy Centre provides excellent opportunities for tidal energy converter testing at intermediate scale. The location at Marsdiep is sheltered and well-accessible via the NIOZ harbour, and the water column has a depth of over 20 metres. The Marsdiep location can be equipped with a floating platform. DMEC has the permit to use a near shore location for testing tidal turbines. The location is used by a consortium which developed the floating BlueTEC platform. Under conditions to be set, the platform can be made available for testing. But at the Marsdiep Berth other platforms can be tested as well. Anchor points, umbilical, grid connection can be made available if needed.


Marin concept basin

Marin – Concept Basin

The MARIN Concept Basin has a length of 220 m, a width of 4 m and a depth of 3.6 m. The basin is filled with fresh water. The basin is mainly designed to perform calm water and seakeeping model tests of ships and structures in the concept phase. Furthermore, the basin can be used for research purposes.


The basin has a stiff overhead carriage which runs over the full length of the basin. The maximum speed is 10 m/s.The carriage can be fitted with a large stroke vertical (VIV) oscillator to test vortex induced vibrations on pipes, risers and other slender constructions. Maximum Reynolds number up to 5E5.

Waves and wind

A wave generator is fitted at the end of the basin. The wave generator consists of 8 hinged flaps. Each flap (with a width of 50 cm) has its own driving motor, which is controlled separately. The capacity of the wave generator is up to a significant wave height of 0.55 m at a peak period of 2.3 seconds. Regular wave capacity is 1.1 m at a peak period of 2.3 seconds. Opposite the wave generator, a passive sinkable wave absorber is installed. The wave generator is equipped with compensation of wave reflections form (ARC) the model and the wave absorbing beach. Wave generation is based on higher order wave synthesis techniques.

Wind can be simulated by an adjustable platform spanning the full width of the basin fitted with electrical fans.

More information available here: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=1882

NUI Galway – Large Structures Test Cell

Full-scale structural testing of composite, reinforced concrete and metallic ocean energy structures, including structural testing of tidal stream blades under fatigue and static loading – in accordance with IEC and ISO standards, assisting blade manufacturers to achieve industry certification.  The structural test facility may also be used to provide motive power to test power take off systems for wave energy devices.  A large reconfigurable test frame (10m x 6m 6m) along with multiple servo hydraulic actuators up to 750 kN) allow a very flexible test approach. The advanced actuator control system allows for a wide variety of load or displacement sequences across multiple actuators, which is suitable for static and fatigue testing. Data acquisition of up to 136 independent high speed channels can be carried out simultaneously; displacement, force, acceleration, strain and other types of sensor are available to configure the test.

More information available here: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=1785

CNR-INSEAN_Ciculating Water Channel

CNR-INSEAN – Circulating Water Channel

The circulating water channel by CNR-INSEAN is among the largest EU infrastructures of this type routinely used for testing ORE devices for research and commercial projects. The test section is 3.6 m wide, 2.25 m deep 12 m long. This allows testing large models and model arrays with 2-3 devices in proximity.

Water flow speed is up to 5.3 m/s. The test section can be depressurized down to 3 KPa for model tests in cavitation similitude with respect to full scale.

The facility provides flexibility of operation settings for marine current devices up to TRL 5:

  • Water flume: test section roof open to simulate free-surface flows at ambient pressure
  • Water tunnel: test section closed and filled to maximise volume at ambient pressure
  • Cavitation channel: test section closed to simulate depressurised free-surface flows

A fake bottom is available to reduce depth and simulate different immersion of bottom fixed devices tested with foundations. Flow turbulence is 3-4%. Higher turbulence intensity or velocity profiles can be modelled by using suitable devices placed at test section inlet.

The facility is equipped with a full range of measuring systems (dynamometers, torque meters, wave gauges, etc.), Laser-Doppler velocimetry equipment (LDV, PIV, Stereo-PIV), high-speed cameras, hydroacoustics sensoring. Acquisition systems can be interfaced with models and equipment by TNA Users.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

The facility is designed and equipped for hydrodynamics studies on marine structures and vehicles. For ORE systems, standard services include:

  • Characterization of system performance
  • Cavitation and ventilation tests
  • Device/device hydrodynamic interactions in clusters and arrays
  • Analysis of system reliability and survivability in extreme conditions
  • Analysis of solutions for device mooring or foundations.
  • Analysis of device environmental impact

More information available at: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=165&a=1491552893862

LABIMA – Wave Current Flume

The Wave-Current Flume (WCF) of LABIMA – Laboratory of Maritime Engineering (www.labima.unifi.it), University of Florence, is operating continuously since 1980 and the research group has gained top level experiences in experimental methods.
The WCF has been fully rebuilt in 2013 by using the top level state of the art technologies. The WCF has already operated as one of the MARINET1 installations during the period 2013-2015 and 5 projects, leaded by international research groups, were conducted successfully.
Moreover, the researchers have top level skills with many softwares for off-shore/near-shore and near-field numerical simulations, among others: DHI-MIKE21, Veri-tech CEDAS, WW3, SWAN, OpenFoam, Lattice Boltzamnn Method for fluid dynamics and a number of proprietary codes (e.g. PMS equation based solver for refraction-diffraction, Sea State generation, short-term and long-term wave analysis, etc. …)

The WCF has the following features:

  • 37m long, 0.80m wide and 0.80m deep
  • Adjustable sloping bottom
  • Generation of wave motion by a of piston type wave maker
  • Monochromatic and random seas generation up to 0.60m height in deep section
  • Maximum wave height up-to 0.35m at 0.5-1.0Hz
  • Bi-directional recirculation system with maximum flow rate of 150l/s
  • Wave-Maker Control and data acquisition: NI LabView, MatLab

Main sensors available include: resistive wave gauges, acoustic water surface level gages, load cells, pressure transducers, acoustic doppler current profiler, electromagnetic flow meter, digital video cameras, fast camera.

More information available here: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=175

University of Edinburgh – FloWave Ocean Basin

The FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility is a 25m diameter, 2m deep circular combined wave-current basin. The tank is equipped with 168 active-absorbing wavemakers and 28 flow drive units which provide 360-degree independent directional control of the wave and current systems.

The unique configuration of the tank allows for the recreation of highly complex directional sea-states and combined wave-current conditions at scales of approximately 1:20-1:30. FloWave’s staff are highly experienced in the testing of offshore renewable energy technologies and will provide engineering support to clients before, during and after their test programme.

The facility is equipped with a video motion capture system (above and below water), voltage/current data-acquisition, and a selection of instrumentation (including submersible loadcells). The on-site workshop may also be made available for model repair and modification.

More information available here: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=1600

CNR-INSEAN – Wave & Towing Tanks

The towing tanks by CNR-INSEAN form a world-class site for research and industry projects on marine transport, structures and ORE systems, and are classified as Large Oceanographic Infrastructures by the Italian National Research Council. The facility has two infrastructures:

  • wave towing tank (220 m long, 9.0 m wide, 3.5 m deep) equipped with regular/irregular wave-maker, towing carriage (max. speed 10 m/s) and movable platform
  • calm water towing tank (470 x 13.5 x 6.5 m) with a towing carriage with max. speed 15 m/s.

A movable wind-generation rig is available in both tanks. The infrastructure is relevant for testing wave, tidal, offshore wind devices with TRL up to 5. Large-scale models can be tested under combinations of waves, winds and current (by towing) to reproduce relevant operating conditions in a highly controlled and repeatable environment. Advanced measuring systems are available to fully characterize operating conditions and device performance, including Laser-Doppler velocimetry equipment (LDV, PIV, Stereo-PIV), high-speed cameras, hydroacoustics sensoring. Acquisition systems can be interfaced with models and equipment provided by TNA Users.

Both wave and calm water tanks provide unique conditions for testing complex systems (i.e., hybrid wave/wind concepts), exceptionally large models and model arrays. Tidal turbine model with diameter of 1.5 m was hosted in FP7 MaRINET.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure:

The facility is designed and equipped for hydrodynamics studies on marine structures and vehicles. In case of ORE systems, standard services include:

  • system performance, interaction with PTOs
  • reliability and survivability under combined effect of waves, winds, currents
  • simulation of mooring systems for floating devices
  • Analysis of device environmental impact
  • simulation of deployment, maintenance operations, including device interactions with floating platforms or with supply vessels

More information available here: http://rid.eurocean.org/record.jsp?load=172

University of Plymouth – COaST Ocean Basin

The acronym COAST highlights the laboratory’s multipurpose foci on Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport representing a major enhancement in UK capability.  Its construction and equipping was part-funded by ERDF funding through the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in partnership with the University of Plymouth.

COAST provides a unique capability for research and testing of wave and tidal Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) devices, either alone or in an array, offshore engineering, coastal engineering and environmental impact modelling.  Expertise and support derives both from specialist staff appointed to support the facility as well as from academic and technical staff associated with the COAST Engineering Research Group and other recognised research centres within the School of Engineering.

The facilities are nationally and internationally leading in their capability of providing a complete package of model testing and data analysis under combined wave, current and wind loading.  The COAST laboratory in unique in the UK and comprises various deep and shallow water experimental facilities including an Ocean Basin, 35 m long x 15.5 m wide x 3 m deep which is operable at different depths of water via a moving floor.  The Ocean Basin incorporates 24 flap wave-makers with the additional capability of a recirculating current both in-line with, and transverse to the waves.

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